7 Mobile Apps That Turn My Phone Into A Virtual Office

A few years back I used to laugh at all of those idiots walking around with their smart phones, ignoring the world around them…..just happily typing away at every opportunity.

Then I got myself one of those smart phones and became one of those idiots.

Though I probably still use it too much, I've learned to holster that badboy at appropriate times….especially when i'm with the family.  But one reason I still use it so much is that when working, I find that I can do alot of things that I used to do on my laptop. I even find I don't have a need to bring my laptop most of the time.

I'm a productivity junkie and i've tried dozens of different apps, but the 7 below are the mobile apps that I use day in and day out and they turn my smartphone into a virtual office, letting me do almost everything I can do from my home or at work.  All of the apps below are free, but have paid versions if you need some extra features, though the free versions work fine for me.

All of the apps have Android and iPhone versions available, I can't speak for Blackberry or Windows phones….I have no interest in either.

Evernote 

This is the granddaddy of mobile productivity.  Evernote holds copies of all of my important documents, images and research for every project that i'm working on.  It's essentially a giant file cabinet that acts as my second brain so I don't have to think too hard to remember stuff.

The neat thing with evernote is that all of your saved files are fully searchable, even the text inside of the images you store.  Some of the things I use it for is storing images of business cards, brochures, clippings from websites and print newspapers and just about anything else I might want to save for future reference. I also take pictures of important paper documents so I have a digital copy in case I lose it.  Evernote comes with mobile apps for the iPhone and Android as well as a desktop and web version of the service.

Dropbox 

Dropbox has become an essential part of the way I collaborate on documents with others and it allows me to access all of the files on my laptop, no matter where I happen to be.  After signing up, you'll install a desktop app on your computer as well as a mobile app for your smartphone.  The desktop app creates a Dropbox folder on your computer, it acts like any other folder…..except anything that you save in there automatically gets synced to the Dropbox servers, giving you access to those files via the mobile app.

With the mobile app I can open, download or share files right from my phone.  Dropbox is probably the easiest service to use when it comes to cloud storage.

Camscanner (Android) (iPhone)

I use this app almost daily.  It's an awesome mobile scanner that lets you create pdf documents with your mobile camera.  Take a picture, crop it with the built in editor and wham!, Camscanner automatically crops and lightens your document so your boss doesn't see a picture of your knee in the background when you email him that document he's been waiting for.

You can scan multiple pages, the most i've ever done is 15 pages and it took me about 10 minutes to do, and it integrates easilly with your mobile email app or cloud service like Dropbox or Evernote.

Documents to Go

View all of your Word, Excel and Power Point files right on your smartphone, with 100% original file formatting.  I find it displays all files flawlessly and the file viewing is great considering the size of the screen.  They have a desktop app available that allows syncing with your desktop files, though I use Dropbox for this feature.  You can also sync your Google Docs account with the mobile app.

Sign Now

Ever get an email with a document that required your signature?  In the past you'd have to download the file, print it, sign it and then fax it back to the original sender.  That sucks.  With Sign Now, you can open a document, add your signature or other needed information, and send it back…..right from your phone.  Now that's productivity!  You can use a stock signature for low importance documents or upload your original and use that for your documents.

Are you nervous about uploading your signature?  I wouldn't be so worried, with camera phones today, anyone can take a picture of your written signature on any document or receipt and turn it into a digital signature…..and do whatever they want with it.  It's just a fact of life these days.

Google Plus

Though it's a social app, the Hangout feature lets me do free and easy video conferencing right from my phone.  As far as the mobile version goes, I find it better and easier to use than Skype.  You've got to love free video conference calling from your phone.  The Hangout feature lets you have up to 10 people on a video call for free.

 

Any Do

Though I love my Gmail Calender, i'm not as fond of the tasks feature in Gmail.  For my mobile to do lists, I use Any.Do.  It's really easy to use, has a beautiful design and makes creating to do lists easy and fun.  The mobile widget lets me see my to do list without having to open the app and it integrates with your phone, prompting you to create a to do if you miss a call from someone.  You can also add alert notifications and audio notes.

What apps do you use for productivity?

I've toughed on the productivity apps that I use every day.  I know there are lots of other great apps, if you know of any….leave them in the comments below!

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Gary

CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
4 replies
  1. Raúl Colón
    Raúl Colón says:

    I prefer Things on my mac, iPad, and iPhone as my go to tasks app but the rest of the apps seem to be very interesting!

    I am going to be taking a look at them! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gary Shouldis
    Gary Shouldis says:

    Hey Raul,
    Thanks for checking out the article. Evernote and Dopbox offer desktop downloads for the Mac along with the iPhone. If you haven’t checked out Evernote, I highly recommend it. Cheers

  3. Alan | Life's Too Good
    Alan | Life's Too Good says:

    Nice list Gary,

    and I agree with you it’s awesome what you can do on the move these days – though I still do these things ‘consciously’ with a laptop or tablet rather than smart-phone. For me checking internet stuff everywhere is a little too much but I do like the idea of being able to work from anywhere – my mobile office is my laptop but as yet I’m resisting using anything smaller (reminds me too much of the crackberry syndrome ;-))

    take care & best wishes,
    Alan

  4. Gary Shouldis
    Gary Shouldis says:

    Hey Alan…..yes, having a mini mobile office in your pocket can make it tempting to work all day, though it’s nice not having to carry a laptop around all the time.
    I have to remember to turn my ringer and notifications off on my phone, so I don’t get excited everytime it buzzes in my pocket!

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